At the risk of sounding like one of those people who takes "Dancing With the Stars" waaaay too seriously, an exchange between judge Carrie Ann Inaba and contestant Bristol Palin last week reminded me of an Abraham Lincoln quote:
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
Both Palin and Inaba pretty much removed all doubt.
First up was Inaba, who could have chosen her words better when she critiqued Palin and her partner Mark Ballas. Their quickstep included an unauthorized separation in the middle of the routine.
"You slammed us in the face by saying, 'I'm not going to follow your rules,' " Inaba said. "So, guess what? Slam back."
Calm down, Carrie. "DWTS" (Monday, 7 p.m., ABC/Channel 4) is a fluffy popularity contest, not an actual dance competition.
(To be fair, her "slam back" comment looks more severe in print than it sounded on air.)
The judges gave the pair miserable scores; they survived because of the fan voting. What we learned is that more people will vote for Palin than for Joey Fatone, who danced better but was nonetheless eliminated.
If Inaba sounded silly, Palin's response was considerably less eloquent. She called it "ghetto," adding, "I was just like, 'OK, whatever!' "
Frankly, you can't be all that surprised. Palin is a 21-year-old with a high-school education who had celebrity thrust upon her.
You've got to feel at least a little bit sorry for Bristol. She became America's most famous unwed teenage mom because her mother, Sarah Palin, pushed her into the spotlight.
Bristol recently told TV critics she's not "a homophobic." And sounded less believable than she did grammatical. She keeps referencing "traditional marriage" despite her own history.
And she really needs to stop complaining that the media won't leave her alone as she keeps showing up on reality TV. Her mother's show. Her own show. Two seasons of "DWTS."
Add in her father's stint on "Stars Earn Stripes" and the Palins are on the road to becoming the Kardashians.
"I just think that you guys are going to be talking about us either way," Palin insisted.
Oh, yes. She'd get the same attention back in Alaska that she's getting on a weekly TV show.
Palin isn't listening to Lincoln. She should listen to Jennifer Lopez, who once admitted to TV critics that she shared responsibility for her constant presence in the tabloids.
"I realized there was a way to pull back from it in the way I lived," Lopez said. "You don't go out as much."
You don't go on reality shows.
"If you want to be in those magazines, you can," Lopez said. "And if you don't, you don't have to be."
If Palin stays off TV, I promise I won't write about her again.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.